Renowned director Juan Cabral has called on Framestore to provide visual effects for his debut feature film, Two/One. A personal film and labor of love for the director, the creative studio’s goal was to provide the most realistic effects possible for the Redrum Films’ produced project.
Two men, living on the exact opposite side of the world. When one sleeps, the other one is awake. But when they finally meet, a simple question arises: Who is the dream and who is the dreamer? Juan Cabral’s debut film wonders what it would be like if all humanity was a single entity connected by sleep.
Framestore’s brief was to create imagery for two key sequences in the film. The first, a hyper-realistic ski jump in the most climactic scene of the film, and the other a breath-taking detailed shot of the earth. Juan Cabral’s film explores the completely insane idea of going to sleep and waking up on a daily basis, and he wanted all the effects in the film to look and feel as real as possible.
“The director has a great relationship with Framestore, and our goal from the beginning of this project was to do all we could to help him realize his vision,” says Jordi Bares, Creative Director at Framestore. “Juan knew he could put faith in us to deliver, and everyone here knew how important and personal this film was to him.”
For the climatic final ski scene, Framestore created a CG digi-double of actor Boyd Holbrook (Logan, Narcos). “It was important that we didn’t overshadow the scene with a VFX spectacle; instead, we needed to sell a ski disaster in the most realistic way possible. And the result is something that we feel will certainly evoke a visceral reaction from audiences,” adds Jordi.
“Juan shot the live-action elements of this scene so it looks like an angle from a broadcast camera. We designed the VFX to really have an impact, as if audiences were seeing this scene unfolding on live television.”
Framestore’s artists also helped to set the scene of this complex sequence, enhancing elements like those in the background, and adding graphics to the ski jump and hoardings as well as multiplying the crowds. These elements were a key consideration in selling the realism of the sequence because the crash happening at a high-profile event raised the narrative tension even further.
The film follows two men living on the exact opposite side of the world: Vancouver and Shanghai. With that in mind, Cabral wanted to highlight the distance between them by creating an establishing shot of the earth, a task Framestore is familiar with because of its work on several high-caliber science-fiction films.
Framestore didn’t pull any punches, designing a completely CG model of the earth using real-world data from NASA’s incredibly detailed open data portal. Designed at a huge 100K resolution, Cabral could choose any angle or perspective. This render allowed anything from a full view of the earth right down to a specific region, complete with accurate elevation and shadows. Thanks to the NASA data, the creative team could even choose the time of year that would cause the weather, clouds and even algae in the ocean to change accordingly.
“We know that with everything Juan works on – from his famed commercials for Sony Bravia to this feature film – he likes to push the boundaries, either with his storytelling or use of technology,” says Bares. “So when we were set the challenge of creating these establishing images of the earth, we wanted to go all-in to show that we share the passion and ambition for our craft that Juan has for his.”